A project to develop historic parts of Erewash Museum’s gardens could provide a new outdoor events platform for creative arts, health and wellbeing and educational activities.

Members of Erewash Borough Council’s Executive today (October 24) confirmed their support for £67,712 of project funding from Arts Council England and a further £20,000 match funding from the Friends of Erewash Museum.

The grant money covers Phase 1 of a proposed two-stage development at the Grade II listed museum. The whole project follows the discovery that a vaulted ha-ha in the grounds of the Ilkeston based museum was collapsing and in need of extensive work.

Phase 1 - called “Erewash Valley, Past, Present and Future” - features creative activities to help the museum rebuild audience levels following the impact of COVID-19 and also includes the recruitment of a part-time Community Curator officer.

The council also plans to shortly submit a funding bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (HLF) to complete the development through Phase 2.

It is hoped that work on Phase 1 and 2 could begin in the spring providing the HLF funding bid is successful and is then approved by the council. Phase 2 would continue the redevelopment of the gardens.

A vaulted ha-ha is a type of sunken store that was commonly used in landscaped gardens and parks in the 18th century.

Councillor Val Clare, Lead Member for Community Engagement at Erewash Borough Council, says:

“This is another example of the proactive drive to build on the success of our award winning museum. The project would open up so many opportunities for the council to promote the benefits of the arts for positive mental health and wellbeing. Activities, such as child nutrition education, and garden yoga can be delivered with public health partners.”